First Look at Menu from Graffiti Social Kitchen, Opening Next Week

If all things go as planned for Monday’s “friends & family” service, Graffiti Social Kitchen (1261 W. 76th St., 216-651-6969, will open to the public Wednesday February 18.

“That’s the game plan unless we run into any major issues at friends and family,” says chef-owner Brian Okin.

Okin and partner Adam Bostwick have been busy readying the former Reddstone space in Detroit Shoreway for the big day. They didn’t have much time to prepare, and the project turned out to be much more involved than previously expected, naturally.

The upstairs “dining room” had leaky windows and no heat save for two fireplaces, which made the space tolerable enough for music and comedy but not dining. Okin replaced the windows, added baseboard heating, and insulated and finished the previously exposed ceiling.

Graffiti will seat 50 in the upstairs dining room and an additional 30 in the barroom, which has served as the main dining room for years.

In addition to the 12-seat bar, there are tables, high tops and a communal table, “Which is perfect for a social kitchen,” adds Okin.

The bartop has been refinished with a veneer of $500 worth of nickels beneath a thick layer of epoxy. It’s a promotion, of sorts, from the penny version the team installed at their two-year-old Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen in Broadview Heights.

“At this rate, I won’t be able to afford to open a fourth restaurant,” Okin jokes.

As for the bill of fare, Okin describes Graffiti as “basically the same style food as Cork & Cleaver, but it’s more casual, with a little heavier emphasis on starters and small plates. But we will still have salads and entrees.”

“We will be doing similar dishes but doing them different. We don’t want to cannibalize what we’re doing here [at Cork & Cleaver].”

Starters might include a Hillbilly Pate, bologna pate served with sweet pickle relish, goat cheese whiz and white bread crostini. Or French Onion Egg Rolls filled with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and french onion jus. And there will be a version of the famous Rueben Ribs.

Entrees might include Shepard’s Pie made with braised lamb roulade, mashed potato pie and lamb gravy. Graffiti’s Chicken Parmesan will be built from a chicken confit. Cod will be paired with onion and cheddar pierogies, chicken fat aioli and dill creme fraiche. The Graffiti Burger will be topped with fried tomatillos and local goat cheese.

Contrary to prior plans, cocktail pro Dave Hridel will not be on staff after all, says Okin.

“With all the talented people working with us, we’ll be able to put together a pretty good bar program that will work well with the food were doing. We’ve been able to put together a solid staff of veterans.”

Graffiti will serve dinner every night of the week but Monday. Down the road, management will add Monday night service, happy hour, and Sunday brunch.

“We’re going to start slow,” Okin says. “This is new territory for us owning two restaurants at once. We want to make sure we protect them and do things right.”

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About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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